Originally created 04/12/98

Soccer notes: Nigerians to receive late bonuses



LAGOS, Nigeria -- After months of complaints, Nigerian soccer officials said they will soon pay late player bonuses -- an issue that has threatened to derail preparations for Nigeria's entry in this year's World Cup.

The bonus was supposed to have been paid last year, when Nigeria became the first African team to qualify for the World Cup. With player complaints mounting the Nigerian Football Association decided to finally pay the bonuses later this month, Radio Lagos reported Friday.

The amount of the bonuses has not been made public, but players will reportedly get paid based on how many qualifying games they played.

The Nigerian government and players also disagree over how much each player will receive for during the tournament in France. Members of the national team rejected the government's initial offer of $6,000 per player for each match played in the first round of the Cup. The players want $8,000 each.

Officials said recently that that dispute would soon be settled.

BATISTUTA GOING? Argentine striker Gabriel Batistuta could be leaving Fiorentina.

Reports in Italy say Batistuta is being pursued by first-division Parma and several other teams for next season.

"Parma is not the only team courting me," Batistuta was quoted by Milan's Gazzetta dello Sport as saying.

The Argentine forward said he would decide his future after the World Cup finals. An extension of his contract with Fiorentina is also possible, he said.

DAVIDS COMING BACK? Midfielder Edgar Davids should be rejoining the Netherlands after a two-year absence.

The 25-year-old player, who recovered from a broken leg to become a key midfielder on defending league champion Juventus of Turin, said Friday he had resolved misunderstandings with Netherlands' coach Guus Hiddink.

"I'm likely to rejoin the national team before the World Cup. Now I want to think of the present and win titles with Juventus," he said.

Davids is expected to play with the Dutch in a friendly match against Cameroon on May 27.

Juventus, which signed Davids from AC Milan last December, is in the running for the Italian league and the Champions Cup titles this season.

Davids is in impressive form and has been credited by most critics for La Juve's impressive midfield play teamed with French internationals Zinedine Zidane and Didier Deschamps.